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STEM careers: Opportunities ahead!

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

3 December 2021

Despite the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit on employment generally, the future looks bright for ARU students graduating with STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

As highlighted by Prospects Luminate, the UK is currently facing a shortage of STEM skilled professionals, presenting a gap in the job market that ARU graduates from degrees such as Computer Science, Biomedical Science, Construction Management, Engineering, Psychology and Sport and Exercise Science are well placed to fill.

So, what exactly is STEM?

Back view of a construction worker looking at a site plan in front of a tower

STEM careers are incredibly diverse – far more than the stereotypical image of people working in white coats in a lab. Consider the Covid-19 vaccine programme as an example: global teams of clinical scientists, research scientists and technicians are obviously involved in delivering this immense project. But a huge range of STEM professionals have also helped make the UK vaccine programme a success.

Biomedical scientists are analysing high volumes of samples to help inform and tailor the vaccine, and epidemiologists and other skilled analysts are reviewing the health informatics data to help shape public health policy and planning.

Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Officers supported the licensing and administrative processes that enabled vaccines to reach you, while engineers are working at pace in the background to help scale up vaccine production. This is just one snapshot of the diverse range of careers that ARU students with technical and transferable skills could explore.

The STEM forecast looks bright

According to the most recent What do graduates do? report (which looks at Graduate Outcomes data), graduates from IT, Engineering and Maths disciplines are 59.8% more likely to be in full-time employment than the graduate average.

The report also highlighted that STEM graduates equipped with tech and transferable skills have a greater range of sectors and employers to choose from. For example, the report noted IT graduates working in adjacent areas such as telecoms or business and finance.

The same report found that sports scientists were the most likely science discipline to go into teaching and education. In the biological sciences over 30% became science professionals (e.g., researchers, ecologists, and environmental scientists) whilst 25% worked in manufacturing, construction or research and development - which is reflective of the opportunities found in food production and brewing, ecological consultancy within the building sector, and research in health (human and animal).

STEM recruitment has obviously been affected by national lockdowns and changes in supply chain (post Brexit). However, New Scientist has noted that people working in STEM industries were less likely to be out of work due to Covid-19:

"ONS figures show that in May 2020, when the UK scheme was as its peak, just 14 per cent of people working in the professional, scientific and technical were furloughed. In the food services and accommodation sector, by comparison, that figure was 80 per cent."
New Scientist
A teacher demonstrating a molecule model in front of a pupil

STEM employers are also committed to ensuring diversity in the sector, with the development of graduate schemes and networks that aim to attract female and Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic students and graduates, to help fill those skills gaps mentioned above. Organisations such as Equal Engineers, Women in STEM and WISE are working with top employers to help ensure greater diversity in STEM sectors.

Sectors such as Education are also keen to recruit STEM talent to inspire and nurture the next generation. Check out the Teach First STEMinism and STEM Work Experience opportunities if you fancy applying your STEM skills in the classroom.

Finding the vacancies

The Gradcracker Webinars are a great place to start to explore where your STEM skills can take you. Featuring top employers such as Barclays, SIEMENS, Galliford Try, and Roche, start to consider STEM related careers with an open mind and greater confidence in your employability.

Students on Engineering and Computer Science degrees are also encouraged to attend the next Women in Engineering event (Wednesday 8 December, 4-5pm) which features Dell Technologies and provides information on the ARU/Dell mentoring opportunities currently open for applications.

You can also visit the Career Centre for industry, graduate schemes and careers information, and the jobs board for vacancies.

If you’d like to talk through your career ideas with an adviser, email [email protected] to book an appointment.

Kim Warner, Employability & Careers Adviser

Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.